Monday, 14 April 2008 9:33 AM
By John Kyrou | Photo by Paul Touliatos
The Melbourne Knights have the bragging rights over old rivals South Melbourne after enjoying a comfortable 2-0 win at Somers Street on Sunday.
The Knights went into the fixture in red-hot form, having been undefeated in their opening seven games in 2008 and coming off a good win against Coburg the previous week. In contrast, South limped into the fixture with a horrible 2008 record, with only two wins from seven games and having received a footballing lesson from Green Gully the week before. Following John Anastasiadis’ resignation after the Green Gully match, new coach Michael Michalakopoulos had limited time with the squad before the derby against the Knights and was hoping that his players would lift for the occasion and in order to impress him.
The game was just over a minute old when the Knights took the lead. From the kick-off, the Knights worked the ball forward and won a corner kick. From the set piece, danger man Zoran Petrevski rose unmarked to put his header past Dean Anastasiadis and into the net. This has been the story of the struggling South defence so far in 2008, with many simple goals being gifted to the opposition in both general play and from set pieces. This further continued when the Knights extended their lead in the 13th minute, when another cross into the penalty area saw mass confusion between Anastasiadis and his defence, with former South player and Knights captain Alex Kiratzoglou on hand to double the home team’s advantage.
Despite being two goals down, South finished the first half strongly. Firstly, Fernando de Moraes was denied superbly by Knights goalkeeper Savas Ozdemir, who tipped a goal-bound free kick over the crossbar and out for a corner kick. Minutes later, Fernando found space in front of the traveling South supporters on the left hand side. His cross into the area found an unmarked Zoric, who seemed to have an eternity to line up and place his shot past Ozdemir. To the frustration of the away fans, Zoric’s fierce shot was hit too close to Ozdemir, who nonetheless did well to keep the ball out. Zoric again missed another opportunity to score when another ball into the area found him free in space but his final shot was extremely poor.
Vice captain Rama Tavsancioglu, clearly frustrated with his forwards not putting away their opportunities, then decided to try and score himself. His run into the penalty area saw him with an opportunity to shoot on his left foot. With a Knights defender hot on his tail, Tavsancioglu fell down in the box but referee Mur decided that he had dived and awarded a goal kick to the Knights. Whilst the Knights had been kept reasonably quiet since scoring their two early goals, they still gave the South defence a few headaches when going forward. Right on halftime, they could have had a third, when another cross into the area saw another free header go just wide of the far post and out to safety for South.
Ricky Diaco replaced Antonio La Verde at the start of the second half as Michalakopoulos threw another man forward in an attempt to get the blues back into the match. The Knights were content to sit on their two goal advantage and allowed South most of the possession. As a result, the majority of the second half was spent in the Knights’ area, but South hardly looked like it was capable of scoring twice to get back on level terms, despite having two more opportunities to do so. The first opportunity arose when Zoric and Sam Poutakidis worked the ball out to the right hand side. A high cross to the far post evaded Ozdemir and the Knights defence but the incoming Fernando was not able to get a touch to force the ball into the back of the net. The second opportunity arrived shortly before the full-time whistle, when a header at the far post by Shane Nunes beat Ozdemir but not the defender on the line, who cleared the ball to safety to ensure that the Knights would end the derby with a clean sheet. The only concern for the Knights was the fact that coach Chris Taylor looked to have been sent off after a confrontation with Adam Van Dommele in the closing stages of the match that could possibly result in Taylor being sanctioned.
The Knights are riding high at the top of the table and next travels away to Jack Edwards Reserve to play the Oakleigh Cannons. South finds itself in big trouble near the bottom of the ladder and simply must win their next game against Fawkner in order to get out of the relegation area. The game kicks off at 4pm next Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium.
Foxtel Cup Round 8
Melbourne Knights 2-0 South Melbourne
(Zoran Petrevski 2′, Alex Kiratzoglou 13′)
Date: Sunday, 13th April 2008
Venue: Knights Stadium, Sunshine
Referee: Perry Mur
Melbourne Knights: Savas Ozdemir, Steve Iosifidis, Mathew Grbesa, Ivan Franjic (Dale Thompson 77′), Cameron Watson, Dario Matkovic (Joe Spiteri 75′), Craig Elvin, Anthony Pelikan (Adrian Zahra 89′), Alex Kiratzoglou (c), Zoran Petrevski, Andrew Barisic
South Melbourne: Dean Anastasiadis (c), Shane Nunes, Adam Van Dommele, Steven O’Dor, Nathan Caldwell (Gianni De Nittis 58′), Bill Natsioulas (Hamlet Armenian 72′), Goran Zoric, Antonio La Verde (Ricky Diaco 46′), Rama Tavsancioglu, Fernando De Moraes, Sam Poutakidis